Mountain lions are cautious, elusive creatures.
Proposition 197 brings back the hunting of these animals for sport. For
large sums of money, a hunter hires a professional tracker and his pack
of hounds fitted with radio collars. In a remote area, a wild cougar is
pursued by the dogs until, frantic and exhausted, the mountain lion
climbs a tree in desperation. In his vehicle, the tracker follows the
radio signals at a distance. The cougar may remain treed for days, until
the hunter can be called to the scene. Sometimes the cougar is shot in
the paws by the tracker to ensure that it will remain alive, but
immobilized, while the client-hunter flies in from out-of-state.
Finally, a handgun is used to kill the cougar at point-blank range.
California's current law designates the mountain lion as
a specially protected mammal, a classification that simply means that it
is not a game or trophy animal, and may not be killed by hunters for
sport. The law was passed overwhelmingly in 1990 by the voters of
California, under Proposition 117, and was intended to protect
California's cougars from cruel and indiscriminate trophy hunting by
people lacking training in wildlife management.
Current law also requires the California Department of
Fish and Game (DFG) to remove or take any mountain lion, or authorize an
appropriate local agency with public safety responsibilities to remove
or take any mountain lion that is perceived to be an imminent threat to
public health or safety. Mountain lions can be killed in California when
they pose a risk to people, property, pets, or livestock. In 1994 alone,
122 mountain lions were killed under depredation permits issued by the
California Department of Fish and Game.
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Neglecting to Remember Spirit?
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